A number of constituents have contacted me in recent weeks to express their concerns over teachers’ pay.
It is outrageous that the Government has ignored the recommendations of the School Teacher Review Body (STRB). The body has advised the Department of Education on matters relating to teacher pay since 1992. This is the first time since its establishment that a Government has ignored its advice and it is absolutely unacceptable, particularly after years of school budget cuts and real terms pay cuts for teachers.
The STRB has advised the Government that all teachers should receive a pay rise of 3.5% due to serious concerns about both recruiting and retaining teachers. Instead, the Government has decided to only reward this pay rise to teachers on the main pay range. Meanwhile, teachers on the upper and leadership ranges are rewarded between 1.5% and 2% – amounting to a real terms pay cut. To add to the sting, the Government is refusing to fully fund the pay rise and expects schools to plug at least a third of the rise from already overstretched budgets. It is unclear how the Government expects schools to manage this when budgets are already under strain and per pupil funding has been cut by almost 10% nationally.
I am deeply concerned about the impact this decision will have on our schools and teachers for years to come. I have written to Damian Hinds to find out both why the Department of Education has deemed upper and leadership teachers undeserving of the 3.5% pay rise, and also for further clarification about how the Government expects schools to put additional funds towards this pay award, when many schools are barely making ends meet in the context of severe budget cuts.